UCL Urban Laboratory


Cities and the New Nationalism: Rethinking Contemporary Urbanism

29 March 2019–24 May 2019, 10:00 am–1:00 pm

Cities and the New Nationalism: Rethinking Contemporary Urbanism reading group

Reading group for students and scholars to discuss the relatively under-theorised field of urban political geography

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students






Jonathan Rokem


Room 802
Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way

The main focus will address the rising tension between urban and national logics of space, that is, between 'thinking space like a city', and 'thinking space like a nation'.

Given the recent resurgence of ethnic and territorial nationalism, the group will explore the rising tensions between national and urban regimes, with. particular reference to the plight of minorities and immigrants.

The discussion generated by the reading group aims to make a contribution to the theorisation of nationalism in urban studies while focussing on the following questions:

  1. Does the new wave of nationalism possess potential to influence the nature of neoliberal urbanisation? In what ways?
  2. To what extent does the new transformation vary between and within the Global North, South and East?

The reading group is open to a wide range of early career and more established researchers focusing on the city and its relation to nationalism, and will facilitate encounters between scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds. We hope the groups will generate new initiatives in terms of research funding and publication.

We have selected two seminal readings with which we will open the discussion, and ask participants to bring suggestions for the following meetings. Participants are encouraged to send us suggestions of appropriate readings at any time.

The reading group dates are:

Friday 29 March 2019, 11.00 – 13.00 (Room 6.02, 22 Gordon Street)

Friday 10 May, 11.00 – 13.00 (Room 106, Gordon House)

Friday 24 May, 11.00 – 13.00 (Room 802, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way)

To confirm your interest in attending and to receive the first two readings please contact the organisers: Prof Oren Yiftachel, Dr Jonathan Rokem, and Dr Mori Ram.

Co-ordinator biographies

Prof Oren Yiftachel is a visiting scholar at UCL and holds the Lloyd Hurst Family Chair in Urban Studies at Ben Gurion University. His research has focused on critical understandings of the relations between space, power and conflict. His recent co-authored book (with Kedar and Amara) "Emptied Lands: the Legal Geography of Bedouins in the Negev" was published by Stanford University Press. 

Dr Jonathan Rokem is Lecturer in Human Geography at the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent, UK. His research brings a new geopolitical comparative agenda to Urban Studies with a specific interest in the Middle East and Europe. His new co-edited book (with Camillo Boano): Urban Geopolitics: Rethinking Planning Contested Cities (2018) was published with Routledge.

Dr Moriel Ram is a Research Associate at the Department of Near and Middle East, School of Languages and Cultures School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His main interests are material geopolitics, faith and contested urban identities and the politics of development health. He currently works on a project exploring how sand, stones and snow narrates politics and culture in Israel-Palestine.

Further links: